EUGENE, Oregon — The Ducks steamrolled Northwest Christian 124-72 in their exhibition contest. The Franklin Boulevard rivalry was renewed on Monday night at Matthew Knight Arena. NCU is coached by former Oregon great Luke Jackson.
Head coach Dana Altman went with his ‘newcomer’ starting line-up that featured five players from the Duck new class (transfer or freshman). Troy Brown, MiKyle McIntosh, Kenny Wooten, Victor Bailey Jr. and Abu Kigab drew the start.
Midway through the first half, Pritchard had a game-high 15 points on 6-for-6 shooting from the floor. He also drilled all three 3-point attempts. Nevertheless, NCU stuck around as they found themselves trailing by just five, 29-24, with nine minutes left.
Elijah Brown checked into the ballgame and proceeded to set the nets ablaze. He scored 13 points in a heartbeat. He was 5-of-6 from the floor and 3-of-4 from deep in the first half.
“Elijah offensively, every time he shoots you feel pretty good,” Altman stated. “He’s been doing that in practice, also.”
Kenny Wooten had a Jordan Bell-esk possession with a big swat on the defensive end, then he was rewarded on the other side with an easy dunk. After enduring some first game jitters on Saturday, the big man didn’t show any signs of nerves on Monday night. He was perfect from the field.
“Kenny going 6-for-6 inside was big,” Altman replied. “He did a better job. Defensively, there is so much more there. He can take away driving lanes and really contest shots. He doesn’t have the timing feel like Chris (Boucher) and Jordan (Bell) yet, but I think that can come as he gets more aware of what we’re trying to do defensively. There is no question about his athleticism and balance.”
UO led by 20 points entering the locker room at halftime, 59-39, with Pritchard (15) and Brown (13) leading all scorers. Kenny Blackwell had a team-high 11 points (4-of-7) for the Beacons.
The Ducks opened the floodgates in the second half, as the offense continued to erupt following their impressive final 20 minutes vs Idaho. Oregon was leading by 41 midway through the second half, 92-51.
There may not be one main man on this team, but that may work out better for Altman and company. This team is incredibly unselfish and seems to work better without a star dictating tempo.
Troy Brown and Abu Kigab executed the 2-man game to perfection, as Kigab rolled off a screen to inhale Brown’s pass under the basket.
Pritchard and Wooten connected on a perfect alley-oop in the second half that brought the MKA fans to their collective feet.
Moments later, it reached triple digits inside the arena as Oregon surpassed 100 points for the first time in the 2017 exhibition season.
Oregon had six players in double digits; Pritchard (25), E. Brown (22), Wooten (15), McIntosh and Sorkin (12), and Bailey Jr. (11).
We’ve reached triple digits in here pic.twitter.com/vif388GJlu— Quack Addict (@TheQuackFiend) October 31, 2017
The Austin native drilled 5-of-11 from the floor, alongside shooting 33 percent from 3-point territory. Bailey has now tallied 31 points in his first two exhibition games.
“VJ (Bailey) was once again explosive,” said the UO head coach.
Overall, the Ducks shot 63 percent from the field (49-of-78), including 12-of-25 from downtown on Monday. The unselfish nature of this team will make fans happy. Yet, the scoreboard operator may be upset because this is an offensive roster. There will be points.
“That’s one of our strong points,” said UO’s head man. “We have a number of guys who can shoot the three. Could spread the floor a little more and open the inside for Kenny and Paul to post up a little bit.”
Pritchard finished 10-for-13 from the field, including 4-of-5 from downtown Eugene. The new scoring role should be expected from the sophomore. He had a game-high 25 points, four rebounds and four assists.
“Because of his experience, we want him to score more than he did a year ago,” said Altman in reference to Pritchard. “He’ll take more shots. He’ll be more aggressive offensively.”
Elijah Brown had 22 points on another efficient night from the floor. Incredibly, he shot 80 percent from the field (8-of-10). Additionally, the senior transfer from New Mexico shot 4-of-5 (80 percent) from deep, alongside providing six helpers.
“He’s the one proven scorer we have,” said Altman after the game on Monday evening.
The 5-star kid Troy Brown Jr. exhibited his skills on Monday in front of the home fans. He led the way with a game-high nine assists, five points and four boards. The freshman is adjusting to the speed of the college game.
“Troy Brown’s nine assists, I thought he was trying to make plays for others,” said Altman after the win. “You get a lead and you want guys to move the ball. I think we can have a good offensive team if we make shots for each other. Troy getting nine assists is a big start.”
Brown continues to get acclimated to the college game, but you can tell he’s special.
“We get along with each other so well off the court, so it makes it so much easier,” said Troy Brown after the victory. “It’s coming along pretty nice. You kind of know who can do what with our personnel on the court. We have guys that can do different things.”
It may be odd to hear from a freshman this early in his career, but this youngster is well beyond his years.
McIntosh continues to expand his role in the offense, as he’s working on making the switch from the gritty Missouri Valley Conference to the Pac-12 this season.
“Playing for a different team is always different,” said McIntosh. “Our offense here is different from Illinois State, but offensively there are strengths here. People are bigger here. It’s different from that sense, but you still have to play hard on defense.”
He showed great strength inside and around the rim. His physicality will pay off down the road when this team is battling the best on the west late in the calendar. McIntosh concluded his evening with 12 points on 5-of-6 from the floor, including five rebounds and three assists.
Kigab led the Ducks in rebounding with six. The freshman from Canada ran into some foul trouble, but scored six points in 16 minutes on the floor.
Paul White added nine points on 3-of-5 shooting from downtown. The Georgetown transfer is continually showing the ability to be a consistent scorer, whether it’s off the bench or starting the game.
Keith Smith came off the bench this game. He was 3-of-6 from the floor for seven points with five boards and three assists. Smith was very active on the offensive end, including securing a few offensive rebounds.
Roman Sorkin had 12 points for the Ducks in 19 minutes off the bench. He buried 6-of-9 from the field. Sorkin added four rebounds in a solid performance.
The next 11 days at ATQ will be jam-packed with Oregon basketball prep, including player profiles, predictions, previews, interviews, breakdowns and a few history lessons. Every day, we will have something new as we count you down to opening night.
Ready or not? Oregon basketball is set to return soon. The regular season gets underway at Matthew Knight Arena on Friday, November 10 against Coppin State. You can catch opening night on the Pac-12 Network at 9:00 p.m. local time.